Posted August 9, 2019 – Narrated by Carmen
What’s Mystic? An old fishing village in Connecticut. Why is it called Mystic? No idea, but they say the kayaking is good. Okay, let’s go.
That’s how the conversation went in Maumee Bay, Ohio, as we sketched a plan for what we’ll always remember as “that crazy hot July on the East Coast.”
So far, August is a relief. From the first day, she came in as cool and dry as a Catskills comic. But she’s still young. Sure hope she isn’t toying with us.
Is only one week in a new place better than passing it by?
Still, the heat is on to try to see too many East Coast places in too little time. Out-Running the weather has up-ended the 4-3-2 Rule.
We’re 4-3- r1ing now and the pace is a challenge because life: the daily workout, groceries, rig maintenance, laundry …
And these days, that one bad sleepless night can throw me off for two precious days. But there’s at least one rainy day a week and we make use of that to catch up.
When life moves too fast, I find breath in cherishing moments.
When we were kids traveling in the backseat of the family station wagon, my sister taught me a neat trick. If I focused on objects as they zipped past I could – for a fleeting moment – put the blur on pause. This little miracle of focus happens naturally in moments of trauma, but with some discipline it can be commandeered through emotions like love and joy.
Our circuitous 193-mile route from Jersey City to Mystic, Connecticut could have been accomplished in a day, but since we have a Harvest Host membership – we stopped fifty miles short of Mystic at Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and Winery.
After Jim checked in with the manager, we found a lovely grassy hillside spot that delivered an evening breeze from the lake.
… We agreed to postpone concern about the beer-weight we’d put on in Jersey City. I made a refreshing caprese salad and after the sunset we watched Mystic Pizza – a film we sidelined during our parenting years – and researched things to do.
The campground near Mystic wasn’t what we expected for a Sun Community, but it was our only option. Once again, on the East Coast, we settled for a great location – only three miles from downtown – with low-touch services.
But at least the Verizon cell signal was good enough for Jim to spend the next day on an 8-hour conference call to San Diego. The electrical hook-up was in good condition so we went to town, leaving Pico in the air-conditioned trailer.
Walking and cycling are both good ways to see Mystic.
Due to the heat, we drove the three miles into town and found parking on a side street in the beautiful historical neighborhood.
It was 98-degrees with high humidity, but we admired the shop windows …
Strolled in the park along the shoreline and watched a squirrel take down an entire sunflower head to devour the seeds.
Along the way we observed how much love and care the residents and business communities invest in this old port village.
But, walking was hot work, so we tried cycling, which was only a slight improvement …
…that didn’t last very long.
Even the bees were taking the day off.
Later, we had a cold supper at The Treehouse where from the deck overlooking the Mystic, I spied a place to launch my kayak.
The best way to view this place is from the water.
Mystic is a confluence of lands, towns and cultures brought together by the water, or missituk, the native Pequot word for estuary.
Mystic is a beautiful mess where the lines between different kinds of land and different kinds of water are in constant flux – not even the old bridge is static.
But the next day, Jim would be saving the world on his conference call with a healthcare committee he still serves. I used my alone time to wash the Hocking Hills off the trailer.
The following day, it rained from midday through the night.
Poured like a busted pipe from Mount Olympus – straight down, no wind – for an hour or so. In San Diego that’s at least fifty-nine minutes over the annual average. Three minutes of downpour like that in SoCal and the locals drop to their knees in prayer, houses slide, coyotes sprout gills.
But Jim and I like it. We’ll do The Tiki Room at Disneyland three times in a row just for the rainstorm part of the show. So, in Mystic, we sat outside soaking up the cool air, lightening and thunder and looked up famous people from Connecticut.
More Mystic, tomorrow …
I love how the sky wakes up grinning ear-to-ear after an all-night storm. What a perfect day to take in this bucket-list village that no less than a dozen people and followers have recommended we see.
So, I spent three hours on my kayak – and I would love to post the pictures I took while paddling beneath that beautiful blue sky, but I can’t because I dropped my iPhone in the river.
I don’t know what possessed me to just drop it in like that. Was I overheated? I can’t say … Ah well, the lesson had to be learned.
I’d gotten careless on the Hudson, taking photos without protection and … there it went with a sickening wet plunk sound. Goodbye, iPhone.
Oh, I did my very best to recover it …
Jim did too …
My sweet, forgiving husband took me out for a consolation dinner at the Oyster Club and ordered me a new phone and a new little iPhone life-jacket to put it in.
The next day – chastised, repentant, and with Jim’s phone safely strapped on …
I launched again. Compared to the previous day, the weather was blissfully cool.
Though the wind and sky demonstrated potential for another storm, I enjoyed that second day on the water seeing Mystic in a completely different light.
I’m still sorting this out, but maybe I unconsciously leave things in places I love? That would explain the things that are probably still out in the world where I left them – my keys in a meadow in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, sunglasses on a rooftop in Italy, and another pair of prescription sunglasses on the bottom of Curry Hammock Florida …
… and, now, my iPhone – the device that knows everything about me – somewhere in The Mystic.